The Lady Blacktronika’s ‘Untitled 15′ reviewed in The Wire

Reviewed by Philip Sherburne in his Critical Beats column in the July 2010 issue of The Wire:

Six or seven years ago, there was a flurry of interest around Detroit Beatdown, a subgenera of House and Techno that ostensibly explored more laidback cadences than clubs were used to – though in retrospect, lots of 2001′s Detroit Beatdown Volume 1 compilation sounds like jacking, funky House. The Lady Blacktronika hails from California, but she still calls herself the First Lady of Beatdown, and she sounds like she’s earned it. “Luv Hate Us” takes the style to screwed extremes, with a plodding 4/4 kick straining through murky bass and synthesizer noise, while treble riffs draw modal curlicues. The centerpiece is her own voice, looped, delayed and pitched down until it sounds a little like Burial, but even darker and more forlorn. “Another Man (You’re On The DL II)” is faster and seems brighter at first, but as she adds layer upon layer of voice, including the refrain “I’m in love with another man”, and the song collapses into conflicting key signatures, the silver lining turns to ash. Faintly reminiscent of Arthur Russell’s World of Echo, but steeped in R&B and Techno, it’s the most heartbreaking thing Techno has produced in a long time.

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